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Us 51, America 48, United States 20, Obama 13, Egypt 10, Mr. Reid 9, United States Senate 8, Benghazi 8, Washington 8, Mr. Clark 8, Cms 7, U.s. 6, Libya 6, Reid 6, Mcconnell 6, Conrad 6, Ronald Reagan 5, Mr. Mcconnell 5, Mr. Ryan 5, Kansas 5,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    September 20, 2012
    9:00 - 12:00pm EDT  

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between what blue cross is doing in this case and what a contractor, no offense, that really the outcome do you want affect them in any way. the outcomes, you might imagine, would be very different; is that correct? >> yes. our first priority is obviously the beneficiary, but then we also have a few diewsh -- few dish ri responsibility. >> but at the end of the day, you have to provide the services at the premium dollar otherwise you can't provide services down the road. >> that's correct. >> otherwise in a standard fee-for-service program and contractors with no financial incentive, with an 80% error rate, that doesn't really raise alarms; is that correct? >> from what i heard today, that
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would be correct, correct. >> so then, mr. clark, obviously, your goal is to sell as many scooters as you can, and y'all obviously are doing a good job, and it sounds like you have been overly aggressive in some cases, and i've had to deal with payments back to the federal government, and, obviously, here today testifying because of the aggressive nature, at least from our perspective, that your company's taking, an, you know, for me, i'm either -- as i listen to the testimony today, either there's -- i want to use the word not as a definitive term, but almost a fraud put on the american people because of the way the system is set up. there's not really checks and balances because people are not paid to care what this costs in the standard fee-for-service program. in a program where it does matter, they have a different
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criteria, and, obviously, don't have the error rate that exists, and you made the distinctions between error. it does appear, to the person who doesn't know much about scooters, that there's a problem here. i want to ask you, i mean, would you not, based on what we witnessed today and watched and just the evidence of the error rate and the settlements that you've had with the federal government, would you not -- would you want to dispel me of the notion that maybe the companies that are dealing with these pmds are being a little bit overly aggressive? >> yeah, i'd certainly like to dispel you of that perception. first of all, of the people that call us for power mobility devices, only 13% of those end up in a power mobility chair paid for by medicare. between us and the doctors, we
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screen out 87% of the people that call. the idea that we want to sell as much as these as we can is just not correct. we want everyone who needs one to have one. the ads, in my opinion, let people know that this benefit exists. it doesn't say that you get to have one. in fact, congress set up that the gatekeeper to that is the physician. i don't sell anything to anyone that a doctor doesn't prescribe, and to have the thought that a doctor would prescribe something he doesn't think a patient needs because of an advertising or because the patient walks in and says he or she wants one is troubling from my seat as what the physician community do. >> do you have people who go in
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as dr. epplin testified to, and we heard in many cases, and as a matter of fact, what we hear a lot in the field is the hand writing appears to be the same on massive numbers of these. in other words, somebody at the scooter store or another entity fills out many of the forms or one little section that maybe has different handwriting. do you have people -- >> senator, i can assure you the scooter store is not prefilling paperwork. we don't fill out any paperwork. because there is not an objective standard system that's been created for a complex, as testified by the good doctor from illinois, this is a complicated exam with complicated criteria. most doctors do this one to three times a year. if there was a process set up by cms or the carriers that allowed everyone to work off the same
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playbook, it would be easier for the doctors to do the exams and provide the information that they need so what happens is a lot of paperwork comes back, and when we look at it, it's not that the patient doesn't need it, but that the doctor didn't document appropriately. that's been said throughout the whole panel and what ms. taylor testified for. we go back to the doctor and say, look, you didn't document this enough. go back and either re-document, but we're not filling out the paperwork or writing what the doctor says. if his nurse writes something, and he signs it, it doesn't have to be in his handwriting. if he signs and dates it himself, then he's attesting to that. again, we screen 87% of the people that call us. there's a gatekeeper. we sell the patient nothing. the doctor prescribes everything. we don't fill out paperwork.
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>> you don't accompany -- >> we don't sit in the doctor's office, senator. >> you don't have any people with your company that ever, in order to meet sales quotas or whatever ever accompany a patient to the physician office? >> i'm unaware of where any representative from the scooter store goes and sits in an examination with a patient and their doctor. we have doctor -- we have hundreds and hundreds of doctors that refer their patients to us to begin the paperwork process for them to get the power mobility devices, and people in the field that have relationships with doctors. i don't -- i'm not personally aware of if one of my representatives, because a patient asked them, to say would you go to the doctor's office and sit in the lobby. there's not one of my people sitting in an exam with a patient and their physician.
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that's between them and their physician. there is an enormous difference, senator, between an error rate and denial rate. >> i understand that. >> i have -- we have a very, very low denial rate. our ads, i mean, when you talk about an overpayment that was voluntarily paid on a 4% denial rate, so that we could be -- >> what would be your denial rate overall with the pmds with cms? >> so as i go through the water fall -- >> i understand, but the net, net, net. >> the net, net, net to me through the governmental appeal process is anywhere between -- around 15% is what i lose because then i decide not to go to federal court where i think i would win more. >> and then you give them a pmd for free? >> right. we're not going to pick them up
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out of anyone's house. >> they've already been placed in their home by the time this occurred? >> right. i go through 18 months of appeal to get 85% of them overturned. >> yeah. >> i spend enormous amounts of money doing that. now you move to a prior standard with mind you, standard, no changes to the system so the error rate stays the same. again, we see almost 100% error rate right now coming back from prior authorization. the individual with the o2 stat rates, it's a bad case. being denieded because the reviewer can't read the -- doesn't know how yet to look at a fact stamp to find out the date that's there, but, you know , because the overpayments were brought up, again, the iro -- we've had the oig sitting over the top of us the corporate integrity agreement for five
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years, and they never said anything about the ad, never alleged any fraud, any misuse, any abuse, any changes to our very robust compliance program. cms, who i dealt with for years, has not done that. we talked to cms about our ads, and, again, we filter a lot in the ads. >> do you think that speaks to the -- and i need to move on in a second -- and i appreciate everything you've said. do you think that speaks to the culture? at cms that they have not responded? i mean, would you think just, if you were sitting on our side of the dice, and there was a medicare program that would be insolvent in the year 2022. >> exactly. >> all figuring out a way to stave office call crisis, and the world's looking to us, and we see the advertisements on television that on our side of the dais, i mean, would you not understand why that would create
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a little bit of concern that we have companies like yours so aggressively trying to put pmds in people's hands, and in some cases, according to testimony, in ways that actually hurt the patient? i mean, can you see why we would have a degree of concern over the testimony today plus the marketing that's taking place around these pmds? >> i could understand with not having an awareness of the screening process that only 13% get that, with not having an awareness of the fact that the vast majority of error rates are overturned and don't become denial rates and why one would say, wow, the ads generate a lot of utilization. the ads have been going on a long time. utilization dropped 32% in 12 years. it will be significantly less 2011. utilization is going down.
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ads don't commit fraud; people do. forms don't commit fraud; people do. criminals are not advertising. there are criminals in the system. there's criminals across every benefit by medicare. i think the best thing we could look to is the independent review organization and their models. when they look at the claims, senator, they go through 190 questions on each claims over 42 areas of the file. they found an error rate between 3% and 8%. the -- the managed cares that are businesses, they don't have high error rates. nobody's judging the overturn rate and saying what's wrong with the process up front on the audits. why suspect the -- why isn't the right answer denied up front? you're looking to deny the costs. yao not looking to just to see
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does the patient just need the equipment? >> you know, what we understood as far as the settlement that took place is it was not done voluntarily, that cms threatened to cancel your aid and -- ability to deal with the product, and therefore you made this settlement so you're shading it a little differently as to what we've been told with what happened. i mean, so which happened? were they threatening -- >> so the oig, the oig threatened to -- the threatened us under the cia. the oig, had, in my opinion, counsel's opinion, we wrote them back, they had no authority to do that. no authority to do that. we sat down -- >> but you didn't just come with a settlement, you were -- >> cms never threatened to pull my supplier number or pull me from the program. oig -- cms and i sat down, went
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over the iro studies, and there was an error rate. we went over the files, we talked, and the company, if you look at the documents that came out of that, back from cms, they couch it as a voluntary repayment. we didn't have to pay that. >> yeah. we wanted to work with cms. we want to stay in good graces with them, if you will. >> yeah. >> we wanted to be a good partner, and it was 4% of our business. >> cms is 4% of your business? >> no, no, the overpayment was 4%. >> what is cms is percentage of your business because you brought it up? >> roughly 75% of our business. >> yeah. i would think the oig threatening to end a 75% relationship would cause you to voluntary want to close this. let me move on --
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>> they filed authority to do that. >> for what it's worth, i'm glad they did. doctor, i just to get identities of interest, i -- i -- you sound like an outstanding physician and sound like you care greatly about the patients, and i'm sure that you do. when the physician fills out the forms for one of the pmds, is there any incentive for them to do that financially, or is that -- i mean -- >> it's -- you can charge medicare for a higher level of service. it's not a significant -- for the amount of time that it takes, the answer is no. >> yeah. >> there's no financial incentive. >> so -- >> you do it because you have to do it. >> you do it because you have a patient that's coming to see you to do it, most physicians, according to the testimony, do it two or three times a year, and the form is long, and there's really no financial incentive, you say, for
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physicians to really want to prescribe these? >> there's no big financial incentive to do that. i think the -- i think you would have to look at the specialty of the physician. i would think that people who are jerritricians would have one to three a year. if someone is seeing the broad spectrum of internal medicine or family medicine, that may be true, but if you see jeer yat rick patients, it's probably more than that. i get requests, and it's probably only as the -- as mr. clark says, i probably can screen out 80%-90% of people by temperaturing -- telling them they don't qualify. the number he gives is the number i see in my practice as
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well. >> i know this is really about the demonstration program, and i'll spend a minute on that, and we got astray based on the testimony, which i greatly appreciate, but dr. hughes, what, in your opinion, and i know it sounds some of the forms have to be reworked, and it sounds very difficult. >> it's very difficult. >> i hear all of this, and certainly we'll be corresponding with cms over the testimony that's come, and i know the error rate is different than the denial rate, but what is the appropriate error rate for this program once it gets refined? >> well, i hesitate to pick a number. our -- our numbers from recent audits are down 50% from the oig study a couping years ago. i don't think it will ever be zero, but i certainly would like to see it down in the single
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digits. >> and based on your experience as getting the error rate down in single digits something that you think is achievable if we put the right processes in place? >> yes, i do. partly because of what i had in my testimony is substantial percentage of the errors are technical things as mr. clark points out, but i believe many of those technical errors are able to be remedieded by the supplier, and then that will then leave 20%-30% of errors that have to do with the quality of the medical record that gets to be subjective and, you know, but that's, you know, that's a different set of tools to be worked on that, and maybe a form, i don't know what would be best for that. >> and, mr. clark, i know you have concerns about what's happening, 100% error rate now.
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is it your view the pilot program is starting too large and should start in a smaller way to be more effective in figuring out the end processes that ought to exist? >> without a doubt. i think the calibration that needs to happen between the reviewer, the contractor, cms, the physicians who only do this -- many only do this one to three times a year, it's complicated, the supplier, who helps educate the physician. it's a great deal of calibration that has to happen in order to make -- get the error rate down, and to do it on a 45% demonstration project just sets up an environment where you're betting the benefit if you have 80%-90% denial rates up front where businesses then have to -- have to carry that working
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capital, if you will, and particularly, in this benefit, that's gone from, you know, heavy allowable reductions of, you know, in 2007, 27.5% price cut, another 10% in 2008, competitive bidding, you know, conversion to the 13-month rental program in 2012, and now, now having a very high error rate for technical reasons or whatever, that's going to take 60 days because it's 43 business days really if you look at the 10 business days cms has, the mail, and then the 20 business days if they get that, that type working capital is going to -- would drive a lot of companies out of business while the claims then ultimately get paid so if they would -- our suggestion was to role roll this thing out in one city in each state,
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something similar to what was done with the competitive bid program in cme, two areas, worked out the kinks and began to grow it like they are now. that would be the most effective way for priorization, and allows parties to understand what's expected of each other without the threat of 50% of your revenue or 1 # 00% of anyone sitting alone in illinois or florida, their business being subjected to that. >> so, and i know dr. peake mentioned that they use the same coverage determination, and requirement to dme mac for their prior at dme than it is for you at blue cross? >> blue cross, most of the blue
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crosses have a prior authorization template. they have a face-to-face examination guide that the physician uses. we can -- we don't do -- if we're dealing with managed care, blue cross blue shield or a map plan, and the volume's smaller, we can take their face-to-face exam, what they want to see the doctor do, and we can calibrate with them, we can educate the doctor on what blue cross blue shield of tennessee requires, as far as the format they want to see in it and how they want to see it, and then that leads to a better face-to-face exam, and then the error rates are lower, and it's just been my experience, senator, that upon review, most of the managed care plans are more so not trying to deny the claim. they are really trying to see if the patient needs it or not. >> yeah. >> and the error rates are
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significantly lower. >> uh-huh. >> than in medicare. >> so i think what you're saying then is cms and this pilot would learn a lot from what's happening with some of the managedded care plans that actually have themselves an incentive not just to provide very good care for the people they serve, but also to make sure they do it in a way that's appropriate to keeping the company going? >> absolutely. i think you would agree with me the managed # care plan loses a lot of money in extended appeals process as well, and because they do have, you know, they have a business model, and an income they have to deal with, they don't want to go through a lengthy appeal process so it makes -- it's best for everyone in every scenario to know exactly what's expected of them, calibrate what that is, and then you can move forward. >> dr. epplin -- thank you, dr.
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epplin, do you deal with blue cross blue shield process and is there a difference for you filling out the forms and what's necessary for getting enrolled? >> we have few, if any managed care plans so i don't deal with them in terms of filling them out. >> yeah, and dr. peake, would you say that testimony from mr. clark is home target? >> we don't have any forms per se, but -- and we have excellent physicians in tennessee like doctor epplin eluded to that do face-to-face examination, but i support that each patient is individual, and you can't put them in a template, but you can give them guidelines, and they are clearly stated. when i deny something, we clearly articulate why we denied it. if you read our denials and you
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figure it out, and the patient truly does meet it, you know what you need to do so the beneficiary can get what they need, and i talk to a lot of physicians about this subject, and i agree with mr. clark. after a lot of our discussions, they don't understand that you can't get a power mobility device so mom can go to park with the family. do they -- >> but you have that impression if you saw the marketing materials; is that correct? >> i would have that impression, and unfortunately, and, perhaps you have too, but i've driven all over the state of tennessee, and i see many par amobility devices sitting in the front yard, the backyard, on the parch because they can't get through the door. i question how did they get there? i don't know the answer. >> so the documentation issues being addressed earlier, you actually think the farms that mr. hughes is using and that cms
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is requiring, you think they are appropriate, or do you think -- >> no, i don't think the forms are. the forms can give guidance, but as has been mentioned by the physician colleagues, i personally feel each patient is an individual, and it needs to be documented as it says in the same format as the rest of the chart. the face-to-face examination does take time, but it's a fairly complex examination, but it's a good physical examination. that's all they are asking to be done. you're right. you could probably, you know, bill it at an 05 or 15 level. there's a g code to go with that to give additional compensation, but they are just asking you to paint a picture of a patient who needs a power mobility device. nothing more or less. not trying to put you in the same box with me, me in the same box with him. it's to look at that patient and say, do you need this, or do you
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not? i complement the doctor from illinois for bringing up the fact that inactivity can lead to increased obesity, make worse of diabetes, morbid conditions, and if they need the device, blue cross, blue shield support providing that device, but there needs to be a clear picture that the party needs it because i believe as a physician, if they don't, we're not doing them a favor. >> well, i think, taxpayers all across the country have seen abuse probably of these, and at the same time, i think they realize that they may have a loved one at some point in time that really does need this, and i'm sure many people in the country use them, by the way, really do need them, but that jeopardizes everyone who has a medical necessity for one of these, and i appreciate all of you being here. we're closing, and i'm the only one here, and i appreciate all of you coming to testify. i wonder if any of you would like to take just a moment, a
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brief moment, sharing with me some misperception that either a miscon seemings we have after hearing the testimony, kneeing you want to clear up before you leave? i got a feeling mr. clark might, but is there -- and you're welcomed to do that, but do any of you have anything to say as we leave that might help us moving ahead looking at this pilot? dr. hughes, dr. peake? mr. clark? >> i would say that we are obviously working well together with blue cross blue shield of tennessee because we have 95% payment rate with them so, again, i think most of the misperceptions we talked about. i will not take more of your time. >> thank you. dr. epplin? >> no thank you. >> i thank you, all, again for
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testifying and your temperament, and i hope the pilot goes well and get in the single digits as mentioned. thank you, all, again, i appreciate it. >> when i first came to washington, i didn't know what an ig did. an experience as prosecutor, we seldom would run into their law enforcement arms. they would be our agents. for awhile, i was doing mortgage fraud cases, started a mortgage fraud unit, dealing with the inspector's general from hud, but i didn't know the big picture of what an ig was doing, and when i got the job, when i came down, what i did was meet the different igs, and starting with the meetings and really over the next couple of years, i found the igs, unfortunately, they are supposed to be fierce watchdogs watching for fraud, waste, and abuse, and those are the magic words into what they
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are supposed to be doing, they became like any other governmental agency. they wanted to preserve their budget, worried about clashing with management. they were worrieded about too much interactions with congress, and it was really a very much a go-along, get-along type of attitude. what i heard over and over again, three types of different igs: a lap dog who would presumably curl up on the lap of management, and that was discouraged. a watchdog, in between, and the junk yard dog. i think ultimately, when i was going through the confirmation process, i was told by senator baucus who is the head of the finance committee which oversaw my confirmation hearing that i needed to be like a junk yard dog. >> neil barofsky worked to uncover fraud. more sunday night at 8 on
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c-span's "q&a." >> live to the floor of the u.s. senate. lawmakers continue to work on the temporary spending bill for funding government operations past december 1 #st. they'll vote on a motion to move on to the measure. majority leader reid hopes to reach an agreement to avoid weekend sessions. now live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. today's opening prayer will be offered by reverend dr. douglas gerdts, senior pastor of the first and central presbyterian church in wilmington, delaware.
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the guest chaplain: would you pray with me, please. holy god little can be said that doesn't add to the cacophony of prayer that arises from humanity. surely from this august chamber the volume and intensity is at times deafening. yet these, o god, are servants of the people and of you. and so, like solomon we pray, "here's what we want: give us a god-listening heart so we can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil ... for who on their own is capable of leading your good people?" who indeed. our prayer this morning is quiet and simple: instill wisdom and compassion, the quest for peace and the drive for justice, the humility to recognize our ignorance and the grace to welcome another's point of view, and the awe of the responsibility conveyed upon us and the gratitude to relish
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our part in shaping the future. most of all, let us never think that we travel this road alone.. for who is capable on their own of leading your good people. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, september 20, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom udall, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties f the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore.
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i would yield to my friend from delaware and ask that i be recognized when he finishes his remarks. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: thank you very much, mr. president. i rise today to express my gratitude to leader reid, to chaplain black, to all of us in the chamber and my gratitude to the reverent dr. dug gerdts. it is my honor and privilege to welcome him to our chamber this morning as one of delaware's finest leaders. reverend gerdts leads the congregation at first and central presbyterian church in wilmington. each time i join with him on sunday mornings, i'm challenged by his passionate sermons and leave engaged for the week rooted in my faith and moved forward by his words and by his leadership. but reverend gerdts' leadership extends far beyond the walls of his church. the church literally opens its
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doors every saturday welcoming in homeless delawareans and also welcoming in children who need classroom to succeed. he chaired our diversity commission and he helped lead the charge for civil unions in delaware last year. he has made a real and lasting contribution to our community. he and his wonderful wife are part of what makes delaware a great place. as he shared with us in his prayer, he is exactly the sort of person who, through a listening heart, has become a powerful and effective servant of faith in my home community. my thanks to reverend dog gerdto reverend doug gerdts for his faith and leadership. mr. reid: the senator from delaware has been such a great addition to the senate. he is well-respected on both sides of the aisle.
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and he is a man of spiritual quality. he has, among his other aprohibits, a defensive medicine -- attributes, he has a divinity degree from yale university. i'm just so pleased that he is my friend and a member of the united states national. the senate is now considering the motion to proceed to h.j. res. 117, which is the continuing resolution, postcloture. the next two hours will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half and the democrats the second half. at 2:00 p.m. all postcloture time will being yielded back and there will be a roll call vote on the motion to proceed to the continuing resolution. i hope we can reach an agreement on our unfinished business and avoid a weekend session and an early part of next week session. s. 3576 is at the desk and due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the
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clerk will read the title of the bill. the clerk: a bill to provide limitations on united states assistance and for other purposes. mr. reid: i would object to any further proceedings with respect to moo bil this bill ats time. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, this month i joined more than 52 million latinos in nevada and across the country to celebrate hispanic heritage month. each year hispanic heritage month is an opportunity to honor the contributions of the population that is so important to our national identity, a community that has contributed to our country's progress for centuries. we see those contributions in every i facet of the our society -- on the battlefield and in the boardroom, in the courtroom and the classroom, at the art gallery and in the recording studio, and on the playing field. in nevada, hispanic influence is evident. the name of our state,
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snow-capped las vegas. today more than a quarter of nevada's population is hispanic. nationwide, latinos are expected to make up 60% of the population in the coming decades. to ensure our country thrives, we need to make sure its hispanic population thrives as well. those why president obama and democrats in congress have fought for the policies that are making hispanic families stronger and more prosperous. we've made progress on economic and education issues that are important to latinos and to all americans. the recovery act, which included tax cuts for working families, kept more than 2 million hispanics out of poverty. unlike governor romney, we know americans who access unemployment benefits are not victims and are not unwilling to take personal responsibility for their lives.
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"personal responsibility" are mitt romney's words. mitt romney believes tax credits for hardworking parents struggling to make ends pleat a handout, not a hand-up. we democrats fa fought to give small business help. under a romney administration, loans for small business would be a thing of the past, one more remnant of the dependency culture he loathes. mitt romney is content telling wealthy donors he would be willing this election if he were latino. that's what he said, mr. president. but we know mitt rom neese problem isn't that he is not hispanic. his problem is he opposed the commonsense policies good for hispanic families. democracy are helping hispanic families tackle the challenges they face every day.
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to us hispanic heritage month isn't just about recognizing the incredible contributions hispanic-americans make to our nation; it's also about building a brighter future with hispanic-americans in our nation. mr. mcconnell: mr. president in. the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, we all understand there is an election going on around here in a few months, but i'd like to remind my colleagues on the other side that we've also got a job to do right now. i mean, we've got multiple cries-levecrisis-level issues th and yet our democratic friends don't seem to want to do a thing. never before -- never before has a president and a senate done so
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little to confront challenges so great. we've got a $16 trillion debt. the democrats haven't bothered to pass a budget in three years. every single american will get hit with a massive tax hike in just three months, if we don't act to prevent it. democrats are saying we shouldn't do anything about it, just go off the cliff, go off the cliff and let's see what happens. the defense budget is about to suffer automatic cut cuts that e president's own defense secretary -- the defense secretary in this administration -- has described as devastating. the democrats can't be bothered to figure out a way to avoid them. the middle east is in turmoil.
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we remain at war in afghanistan and with al qaeda, and senate democrats haven't even bothered to pass a defense authorization bill. gas prices have more than doubled over the past four years -- doubled in just four years. democrats have responded by conspiring with the president to make sure domestic pipeline a de didn't get built. just let the debt grow, let taxes go up, let the defense cuts stand, let gas prices get higher and higher, don't pass a budget, don't pass any spending bills, don't do anything that involves making tough choices. just sit around, sit around and kill time in the hopes that the
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voters will focus on the other guys instead. look, our constituents didn't send us here to watch the clock or to offer running commentary here on the floor. they sent us here to make a difference. we've got jobs to do. it's about time we did them. in these very, very challenging times, americans deserve leadership. never before -- never before have a president and a senate majority party done so little when our challenges were so great. there's no excuse for it. officer under the previouthe prr the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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under the previous order, the next two hours shall be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half of the time. the majority -- the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, we have a number of colleagues that will be speaking this morning during our one hour of morning business time. given the number of speakers, i would ask the chair to help remind colleagues when they have consumed roughly one minute, and i would thank the chair for doing that. the presiding officer: the chair will do so many o do so. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. some say the reason for a do-nothing senate -- or the cure for it is we need a cal change in rules. i say we need a change in behavior smed i would lik. i would like to offer a single example. we have a big borrowing problem. we're headed off a fiscal cliff. the minority leader has described that.
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the australian foreign minister has said that the united states of america is one budget deal away from restoring its global preeminence, so he would think we would have a bugged and then you would think we would deal with the appropriations bills, which are the basic work of the senate. i and others on both sides of the aisle came to the floor earlier this year to compliment the majority and minority leader for their decision to bring all 12 appropriations bills to the floor. the committee did its work. is 1 o11 of the 12 have been red to the floor. the house did its work. but the majority leader said we're not going to consider any appropriations bills. mr. president, being elected to the senate and not being allowed to vote on appropriations bills is like being invited to join the grand ole opry and not be allowed to sing. we need a republican majority. if we had one, we could have a
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budget. if we had one, we will bring appropriations bills to the floor. we will debate them, amend them, vote on them and do our jobs. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: there is no question that the premier issue for most americans is jobs and the economy. it is the issue on the minds of all americans, their pocketbook issues that impact middle-class americans all across the country. for the past three and a half years, the president and the democrats here in the senate have failed to pri the leadership that america needs to make a stronger middle class. middle-class americans continue to face a bleak economic picture on this president's watch. we have seen gas prices more than double, the highest level in september that we have ever seen in the month of september. middle-class income is down by nearly $4,000 since the president took office. just this last week, the kaiser foundation family study came out and worker health insurance
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costs have increased by 29% since the president took office. the president promised to lower health care costs by $2,500 per family. instead, average family premiums have increased by $3,000 since he took office. republicans have solutions to grow the economy and to help the middle class, strengthen the middle class. mr. president, we support common sense solutions like increasing domestic energy, reforming our tax code and stopping the job-killing regulations that are killing our small businesses. we hope to have the opportunity to work on those solutions for america's future. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, the president, the administration and the senate majority have failed to govern during a crucial time for our nation. there is a willingness to kick our problems down the road with the hopes that the next election will suddenly inspire action. rome burned while nero fiddled. we have had enough fiddling. the president's answer to jobs in the economy was to have his failed budget.
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three times it was voted on without a single vote in favor, not even a single democrat in favor. over 23 million americans are unemployed or underemployed. government regulations and red tape stunt business growth. that's not leadership. that's being asleep at the wheel. their answer to a job -- to jobs is a bill with a g a poison pill that comes right to the floor, and it's set up so the poison pill can't be amended amended out and they wonder why the bill can't pass. that's not politics. that's legislating. lack of a budget shows they don't have a plan. inaction remains the status quo. republicans are prepared to lead today and in the future. i yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, when i talk to employers in my state about what washington could do to get people back to work, they
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inevitably point to the flood of excessive regulation as a major barrier. many of us have offered proposals to reform the regulatory process. even the president's own jobs council has put forth ideas like strengthening the cost-benefit analysis. this just makes common sense. but regrettably, the senate has failed to act. meanwhile, the burden of federal regulation grows ever larger. right now, federal agencies are at work on 2,700 new rules. these rules will go on top of a pile of regulations measuring millions of pages. mr. president, if we want to put people back to work, we have to cut the red tape that is strangling our job creators.
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the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. if you look at any objective measurement, whether it's unemployment numbers, gas prices, middle-class income, college tuition, manufacturing production, home values, and the list goes on and on, we are clearly not headed in the right direction. so what's the cause of this? the primary cause is lack of leadership coming from the administration and from the leadership in the senate. the administration's policies have led to the worst recovery since world war ii. over 23 million people are unemployed, underemployed. one of the main reasons that we can't find work in this is the economic uncertainty washington has created, stopping the hiring process. our businesses are frozen. as a former small business owner, i understand firsthand
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how economic uncertainty hampers business growth. if you don't know what your taxes are going to be, if you don't know what your energy costs are going to be, if you don't know what your health care costs are going to be, the last thing in the world you're going to do is hire a bunch of people. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, the number-one job of this congress domestically should have been more private sector jobs. the president's long-held view of redistribution as a goal for the government is not going to accomplish that. what's going to accomplish that is more opportunity, more independence, as my friend from arkansas just said, more certainty, more american energy. these problems are big, mr. president, but they're not necessarily that complicated. we just have to have the willpower to deal with them. this congress has not done that. this senate, more importantly, has not done that. the house has passed bills. the house has passed a budget, the house has passed appropriations bills, the house has passed bills to get
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regulations under control. the senate hasn't, mr. president. i hope when we get back here -- we should stay and do those things, but when we get back, we should be focused on the number-one job for the one today, which is more american jobs. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. demint: president obama, when you took office almost four years ago, you promised to create jobs and to reduce our deficit. yet, four years later, we have fewer americans working than in the last 30 years and we have historic debt and deficits. now you say raising taxes will solve our problems, but those who create jobs disagree. yesterday, a businessman from south carolina came to washington to present a very simple proposition. he had built this business from his garage to 150 workers, putting every dime he could back into his business. his plan was to add 25 workers next year if we keep taxes the
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same, but to do nothing if we follow your plan to raise taxes. mr. president, if you really want to create jobs, help our economy and reduce our deficit, stop threatening to raise taxes. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: we just heard from a number of my colleagues about issues with our jobs and the economy, the debt, unemployment at high rates for 43 months, unprecedented problems. we have learned time and time again in america, you can't tax, regulate your way to prosperity. and republicans in the senate have provided an alternative. this is the republican senate jobs plan. all 47 republican senators have supported it. we have introduced legislation that incorporates these ideas. and yet we haven't gotten a hearing on the senate floor. pretty simple. we believe that we ought to live within our means, fiscal discipline is part of getting the economy back on track, reforming the tax code to spur
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economic growth. we know we can create millions of new jobs in this country by getting the tax code straightened out. economics -- the economic situation will not be improved in this country until we deal with regulatory relief. my colleagues have talked about that. a more competitive work force. changing the worker retraining program in this country, improving education to have a competitiveness work force. increasing exports to create more jobs but also to level the playing field. powering america's economy by using the energy in the ground in america. and finally, commonsense approaches to health care to get the costs down. these are the solutions that republicans have offered that have not gotten a fair hearing on this floor for us to begin to turn this economy around and get america back on track. mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: today i join my colleagues in expressing my disappointment in president obama in his failure to provide real leadership when our nation needed it most. while failures can be observed across the board when it comes to taxes and the pending fiscal cliff, the president has put our
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future in jeopardy to conserve his own political interests. at the end of this year, the bipartisan tax relief bill signed into law, not only by president bush but president obama as well, is set to expire. virtually every taxpayer in america will see their taxes go up if congress and the president do not extend -- do not act to steer us away from this fiscal cliff. objective analysts, including the c.b.o., have stated that if we were to let the tax relief expire under current economic conditions, it would likely lead to another recession. yet, rather than working with the republicans to extend the tax relief and to aid our recovery, the president has once again sought to divide the american people by using the top marginal tax rate as a political football. in 2010, the president acknowledged that raising taxes in the midst of a weak economic recovery was bad policy. that is why at that time he signed into law full extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax relief. aside from the fact that the economy is in worse shape now than it was then, the only thing
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that's changed between 2010 and 2012 is that the president is now facing the voters, and that means appealing to his base which is committed to raising taxes. the president has put class warfare and his own political future ahead of the immediate and long-term interests of our economy. this is the high-water mark of failed leadership for this administration. our country is at a moment of deep economic uncertainty, and america's citizens and taxpayers deserve more than the president's decision to prioritize electoral politics over sound fiscal policy. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: as the chair of the debt commission simpson-bowles told the budget committee, this nation has never faced a more predictable financial crisis. i would say that this nation has never faced a more difficult financial challenge. we have deep systemic demographic problems. they need to be addressed. yet today marks the 1,240th day since the democratic
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leadership in the senate adopted a budget. for three years in a time of financial crisis, the senate's democratic majority has failed to comply with the united states code that requires us to bring up a budget and bring it to the floor of the united states senate. politico observed on may 15 the democratic leaders have defiantly refused to lay out their own vision for how to deal with the federal debt and spending. i believe that is a colossal failure of leadership, a failure of fundamental responsibility and puts them in a position of, in my opinion, of being unable to ask to be returned to leadership in this senate. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: as the distinguished ranking member of the budget committee pointed out, it has been more than three years since the democratically controlled senate has passed a budget.
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that should be a national scandal. during the same time, we considered the president's proposed budgets which have been voted down unanimously, that is republicans and democrats both realize that the president's proposed budgets are unserious attempts to solve some of our most serious challenges. the president couldn't get a single vote from his own political party for his own plan, a plan because it does not include serious efforts to preserve and protect social security and medicare and put us on a sound fiscal path without job-killing tax increases. when republicans regain the majority in the senate, we will pass a budget, we will reduce the deficit, we will tackle our long-term debt and we will help grow the american economy by getting our boot off the neck of the small businesses and job creators in our country. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: this year we will spend over $3.5 trillion, 60% of which is taxpayer money, 40% is
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borrowed. over the next 10 years, we will spend $45 trillion. we haven't had a budget in this body for 1,240 days. not only is this dysfunctional and america looks at us as a dysfunctional body, it is an embarrassment. the fact is that we are one fiscal reform package away from being able to focus on being a great nation again, and yet many around the world look at us as a nation in decline, which affects everything from people hiring and producing jobs in this country to the activities that we see overseas as it relates to our foreign relations. what we need in this nation is new leadership in november that has the courage and the will to address the most major issue this nation faces, which is fiscal reform, and with that, we'll put this malaise in the rearview mirror and again be able to focus on being a great nation. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia.
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mr. isakson: mr. president, for three consecutive fiscal years, the leadership of the united states senate majority party has constantly decided not to bring a budget to the floor of the united states senate. and do you know what the result has been? we spent $10.6 trillion, increased our debt over $4 trillion while the american people have cut their debt, cut their spending and got their house in order during our worst recession since the great depression. it's time the leadership of the senate took a lesson from the american people. let's get back to the business of america. let's get a budget to the floor. let's balance our budget. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: mr. president, think about it, $5 trillion of new debt under this president. so when he submits a budget plan, what happens to it? on the floor of this senate, the president's budget plan did not get a single vote. no republican, no democrat, no
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independent supported the president. what happened on the house side? the same identical thing. no republican, no democrat, no independent supported the president's plan. many are working on this. simpson-bowles is a good example. many of my colleagues have been working to find a way forward on our budget issues. and what happens on the floor of the senate? no budget. four years, no budget. when republicans come to the majority, we will pass a budget. we will work to balance our budget. that is where we are headed. nor senator mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: on september 2007, our total stood stood as
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$200 billion. last year with the debt ceiling debate, we increased our debt limit by a little more than $2 trillion. we will blow through that limit in less than two years. mr. president, the president of the united states has put forward four budgets. he has yet to submit any proposal to save either social security or medicare. we're facing the most predictable financial crisis in our nation, and our president refuses to lead, this senate refuses to lead. america hungers for leadership. the presiding officer: the? er from utah. -- the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, this is bad enough that this senate leadership has not passed a budget in three and a half years. what's even worse than that is the fact that they haven't offered a budget this congress. they haven't voted for or supported a single budget in this congress. we have had, of course, one
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budget voted on in the senate during this congress, written by a democrat. that was the president's plan, which received zero votes from his own party, zero votes from the republican party last year and this year. if we are able to come to the table, if we are to come to a compromise, we have to have offers on both sides. we have to have a plan on both sides. and so all the calls for civility, for the calls for compromise really fall on deaf ears unless or until we have two willing parties at the table with proposals that they're willing to offer. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: mr. president, the american people are asking two big questions: why has the senate not acted to stop the $4.5 trillion tax hike that will occur on january 1 unless we act? and, second, why has the senate not voted to replace the across-the-board defense cuts that will devastate our national security?
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the unfortunate answer is because senate democrats and the obama administration are too afraid to tackle, let alone vote on, the tough issues in an election year. for americans outside the beltway, the consequences are very serious. the congressional budget office tells us that failure to avoid this fiscal cliff will shrink the economy next year and push unemployment above 9%. that means 2 million jobs will be lost and we'll be back in recession. the house has acted. election year or not, there is no excuse for the senate not to follow the house's action, it's lead in acting to avoid the job-killing consequences of this fiscal cliff. ms. snowe: mr. president, it is are astounding to me, mr. president, that after putting the nation through the self-inflicted travesty of last year's debt ceiling debacle that we're facing another manufactured crisis this year with a fiscal cliff that never
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would have existed if the senate had remained in session, had fewer recesses, and maximized every legislative day based on the job we were elected to do as i have argued virtually throughout this entire congress. according to a recent study illustrated by this chart, deferring last year the debt ceiling to the 11th hour in august produced the highest level of policy uncertainty than any event that occurred over the last 20 years, that includes 9/11, the financial crisis, the fall of lehman, included the iraq war. we now have heard from c.b.o. as well as the fed chairman bernanke who have indicated wreaked trigger a recession next year in we fail to address the if is cal cliff. yet here we're scheduled to adjourn sometime this week for nearly two months after just returning from a five-month break. when i was running for reelection in 2000, when the republicans were in the
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majority, we didn't adjourn until november 3, a few days before the election. i call on the majority leader to continue to have us remain in session, to lay the groundwork for the bipartisan solutions on these monumental issues. i've urged him in letter that i sent last april because it's absolutely pivotal for this country. if we had the policy and certainty of 2006, we would have 2.5 million more jobs in america today. the senate has wasted two years -- two prey new precious years h intransigence and inaction. america deserves better. mr. coburn: mr. president, the problems in front of our country are not unsolvable. our country has a history of doing hard things. what we lack is leadership to call us to do those hard things. we find ourselves at a point in
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time where the greatest threat to our nation is our debt and our economy. we're risking our future, not only our future economically but our future of liberty. what we have had, i would remind my colleagues, is a history in the senate of doing hard things, under the leadership of senator reid, the senate has not attempted to do hard things. what it has attempted to do is abandon the tasks that should be in front of us. america deserves better, it deserves better leadership, it deserves leadership based on bringing this country together rather than dividing this country. not having a fiscal plan to solve the greatest issues in front of our country is an absolute failure of leadership. where is the senate majority leader's -- where is the president's plan to solve our plan? -- to solve our problems?
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mr. toomey: mr. president, the fact is our economy could be booming right now. our economy should be booming right now. the history of this country is that after a serious recession, the economy comes roaring back, and that's exactly what should be happening right now. in fact our economy should be creating more jobs than there are people to fill it. that's not what's happening because of the failed leadership of the democratic majority in control of this body and the president of the united states. our economy can't come back the way it should as long as the threat of a complete fiscal disaster looms over it. as long as everybody who might even contemplate launching a new business or expanding an existing business knows that this government is running trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see with no willingness to address this, then people won't make that investment, they won't expand their business, they won't hire that next worker. mr. president, it's long past time that the democratic leadership in this body accept
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its responsibility to address this problem, pass a budget, get our fiscal house in order tow that this economy can grow again and americans can get back to work. nor senator mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, just two years ago we extended the 2010 tax rates. over a year ago we passed the budget control act, which will trigger sequestration unless we pass a budget-reduction plan. the point is, we've known about the fiscal cliff for a long time, and there's been no shortage of warnings about the dire economic consequences of doing nothing, but that's in fact what this body has done. nothing. so let me just say this. there's a reason that president obama and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are target the romney plan and the ryan plan and the republican
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plan. it's because they don't have a plan p. mr. president, they don't even have an excuse for what this body has not done. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. more mr. presidentmr. moran: thr concepts that we discuss in the nation's capital have real consequences on everyday americans. i spoke to a rotary club in kansas and the local c.p.a. is in the audience and we go to questions and answers. he says, i just have a simple question, an easy question for you. this is a softball. what's the estate tax rate going to be next year in it's embarrassing not to be able to answer the simple questions about what is going to happen in people's lives. people are having to make decisions. that certified public accountant, that lawyer, that
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financial planner needs to be able to explain to that farmer in kansas, to that raunch, that small business owner what the tax code is going to look like. we're facing a point in time in which we have no opportunity to tell somebody what the tax code is going to be in three months. that's impaithat's embarrassing. when people ask me what's necessary for us to get washington, d.c., to solve the country's proficiency the answer is we desperately need leadership, somebody that encourages us to come together and it's been lacking. it's embarrassing to me for the nearly years i have been a member of the united states national not to see that leadership exhibited in the united states of america. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: mr. president, this week my home state of mississippi received the sobering news that our economy had slipped back into recession. frankly, i'm concerned that my
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state may be a harbinger for the rest of the country. despite national efforts to create new jobs and opportunities, our economy is not getting significantly bett better. it is a problem, we think. in most states unemployment has remained over 8% for more than three years despite spending nearly $1 trillion with the president's 2009 stimulus package. investments in small business growth have languished, and they've done this in a state of the economy, tax policy, federal regulations that seem to have made matters worse. the course we're on is simply not good enough. we hope and we urge the senate to make a strong stand. let's get together. let's push a simple, easy-to-follow game plan for economic recovery.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: th the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: last night i cram to the floor to object to a one-hour debate on a measure that would have had draconian effects on our relations with countries in the middle east, and i am not opposed to that measure or debating it, but i said that i would think -- thought it would be important to have an amendment. the majority leader of the united states senate said, the day of amendments here is -- is over. the majority leader of the united states senate said the day of amendments in this body are over. is there a more telling description of how this body has deteriorated and degenerated over the years? i co see my friend from maine h. it is a far cry from the day we first imcame, when other
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majority leaders would allow debate, amendments, and carry out the functions that the people ask us to, and that is with vigorous debate and discussion. the day of amendments in this body are over. and so, as we debated a bill for veterans job program, of which six are already existing, the majority leader, for the first time in 50 years -- forbe the firs--for the first time in 50 s in this body we have not taken up the defense authorization bill. we're in a war. we continue to have attacks on american citizens. americans' national security is at risk. and we can't even do enough for the men and women who are serving to pass legislation that is so vital to their future and their ability to defend this nation? shameful.
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ms. ayotte: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: our troops are fighting and being attacked in afghanistan. iran marches toward the capability of having a nuclear weapon, terrorists have you had inned our diplomats. innocent civilians are being murdered in syria by a despotic regime. mr. president, the world is a dangerous place. president obama, stop leading from behind. president obama, lead an effort. right in our military faces devastating cuts that your own secretary of defense said we'd be shooting ourselves in the head, that webbed undermining our national security for generations. we heard what's happed happening in the world. lead, be the commander in chief. your leadership has been absent. you have been awol on this critical issue and our troops and nation deserves better.
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the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: lucky you to be president today. we live in interesting times. you could receive the nobel peace prize for not being somebody else. four years later almost after the nobel peace prize has been awarded, where do we stand as a nation? osama bin laden is dead. that's good. that's a great accomplishment. the president should take plied in that. we should all celebrate the death of that evil man. but that's a -- that's not a foreign policy. is anybody deterred from attacking america in the middle east because bin laden is dead? has anybody said i better not go over the wall of the embassy in egypt, you know, we killed bin laden? there is no coherent foreign policy at a time when we need one. four years later, after a charm offensive and an apology tour
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that has not worked, our enemies are on steroids and our friends are unsure about who we are. i'll make a prediction. if this continues, the world is going to devolve into chaos, because at a time you need to be certain, we're unsure and the iranians are not taking anything we say seriously, and the russians and the chinese have corrupted the u.n. so much for restarting. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: mr. president, i rise today to state that the senate's lack of leadership in addressing sequestration will have long-term effects on our nation's robust intelligence community which had to be rebuilt after 9/11. these budget cuts will make it very difficult for the intelligence community to keep americans safe in future years. mr. president, america hungers
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for leadership, and unfortunately the united states senate lacks leadership from the majority on these issues that affect the safety of all americans. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: i rise to urge the senate to fully investigate the circumstances regarding the attack upon our u.s. consulate in benghazi, the torture and killing of our ambassador, the deaths of three american patriots and the following attacks and deaths involving marines in afghanistan. americans are watching a conflagration of an estimated half million jihadists and over 30 countries burning portraits of our presidents and american flags and threatening attacks upon our consulates and embassies while shouting death to america. no, mr. president, my colleagues, the war against terrorism is not over. now we find out ten days later that al qaeda was involved in a planned attack in benghazi,
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dangerous poe tests continue in pakistan and throughout the muslim world. this morning, the commandant of our marine corps informed the capitol hill marines there are 153 marine units at the ready to protect u.s. consulates and embassies at the direction of the state department. they should be deployed. and he believed that the current danger may well last decades. the sobering truth hurts. was there actionable intelligence prior to this attack, and if there was not, why not? especially given recent intelligence reports, press reports and testimony by matthew olson, national counterterrorism center director. we are on a merry-go-round with this administration of excuses. there is no strong horse or weak horse. it's a merry-go-round that has to stop. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: mr. president, today we have heard a lot about the
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financial condition of this country. mr. irish: it's on the minds of everyone, it's on the forefront. but in addition to this, there are national security issues in the world, and unfortunately they have been pushed to the back page because of the condition of this country. mr. risch: but i want to talk for a minute about the national security of the united states of america. it is something that we need to focus on no matter what is happening domestically. i want to focus on one small part of that. certainly, we have issues going on in 30 different countries. a number of those have our embassies under siege. we have had an ambassador killed in recent weeks. this is a foreign policy that is in shambles. in the middle east, it is a foreign policy of apology, it is a foreign policy of appeasement, it is a foreign policy of dithering and looking the other way. this cannot go on. iran continues down a course
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which is going to force a confrontation with israel. israel is the most reliable ally america has, certainly in the region and perhaps in the world. they need a president who will stand up and be clear and be firm about what is going to happen if iran keeps down the road that it is going. that is not happening. it needs to happen. we need to change foreign policy from a policy of apology to a policy of leadership. thank you, mr. president. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: these events of this past week are a very clear and direct reminder of us of the need to choose to end our nation's dependence on imported oil. i will remind my colleagues, this is our choice here. it is within our power to free ourselves from reliance on opec
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oil. this past few months, i have had an opportunity to visit our oil resources in the gulf of mexico, in north dakota with back ann shale, up in alaska with the offshore as well as anwr and national petroleum reserve and marcellus shale. we have learned one thing for sure. there is no scarcity of resource here in this country. technological breakthroughs allow us to access these resources in a safe and a reliable manner. this administration may talk a good game on oil production, but words and actions are entirely, entirely different. our problems result from a federal government that has actions and inactions that indefinitely delay if not prohibit in many cases access to our energy resources. mr. president, we are not running out of energy. what we're running out of are
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excuses for continued reliance on opec. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: mr. president, just yesterday, the white house went out and applauded the fact that saudi arabia is creating more, producing more oil. the president goes to brazil and he tells the president of brazil, we want to be your number-one customer. this is at the same time that this white house is blocking american energy projects and american energy jobs. held hostage by environmental extremists, this president continues to block and cause people to lose jobs in the united states. earlier this week, the number-three coal producer in the country announced the layoff of 1,200 workers. so not only are americans who are working in energy losing their jobs, the president's policies continue to block new jobs from being created. the president continues to stand in blockade of the keystone x.l.
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pipeline which would bring about thousands of family-paying wage jobs, yet the president says no. and then harry reid, the majority leader, stands at that desk and he blocks over a dozen bills passed by the house of representatives that are good american energy jobs, that will put people back to work. republicans here stand ready to produce more american energy, which will put people back to work, will stimulate our economy and will help lower energy costs for american families. the american people deserve better than they're getting from the democratic majority in the senate and from the democrat president of the united states. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, today the price of gasoline at the pump is double what it was four years ago. the majority in this senate have done nothing to address that problem, and this administration has done nothing to address that
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problem. in fact, we are moving in the wrong direction. the president's five-year lease plan for offshore leases is half of what the previous plan was. production in the gulf is down following his imposed moratorium, and it's beginning to go further down. it's gone from 1.55 million barrels a day in 2010 to 1.32 in 2011, and it's still headed down to 1.23 in this year. two years before the moratorium, the energy information administration where all these numbers come from said it would be 1.76 million barrels a day this year. we are the most energy-rich country in the world, but this senate majority, this administration won't allow us to access our own resources for our own good.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. politburo hoeven: look what's going on -- mr. hoeven: look what's going on in the middle east. mr. hoeven: you have more than 20 countries demonstrating with anti-american protests, countries like egypt, syria, yemen. look what's going on in iran. yet at the same time, we continue to import our energy from the middle east, so look what's going on in the middle east and at the same time we're dependent on them for our energy? when we can produce that energy right here at home, when we can work with our closest friend and ally in the world, canada, when we can create american jobs. look, this is an opportunity. we can produce more energy in this country, we can create jobs, we can get this economy going and we don't have to be dependent on the middle east. it just takes the will to move forward with the energy plan that we have proposed. but we need an administration that will work with us to advance that energy plan. gas prices which affect every working person, every consumer,
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every family, every business in this country, gas prices for the month of september are the highest they have ever been for any month of september. what does that do to american pocketbooks? this is an opportunity. this is an opportunity we need to reach out and grab with both hands. and the only question i can ask is why aren't we? why isn't this senate acting on that right now, and why isn't this administration working with us? why do veterans have to come back from the middle east and go to canada to get a job to work on something like the keystone pipeline? because the administration is blocking it in this country. the question i have is why? we need to get going on this right now. the american people deserve it. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana.
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mr. coats: mr. president, americans have endured four years of the worst recession in the last 70 years in this country. 23 million americans are either unemployed or underemployed and millions more have simply given up finding a job. and what is the president's response in the face of all this? reject every plan presented by republicans and instead spend $5 trillion of borrowed money leading, so-called leading our country into decline and into -- ultimately into bankruptcy. and what is the democrat-led senate's response? avoid all efforts to formulate a plan to address this problem and to vote and debate on that plan on one of the most critical if not the most critical issue facing this country in its history. the american public is desperate for new leadership, both from the white house and from the
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united states senate. leadership that is absolutely necessary if we are to restore our nation to growth and prosperity and get our people back to work. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: mr. president, yesterday "the new york times" said this -- the 112th congress is set to enter the congressional record books as the least productive body in a generation. this is true, and the responsibility falls squarely at the feet of the democratic senate leadership. the senate has taken just 193 recorded votes this year. the senate has been more than three years since passing a budget. the majority leader has shut off the right to amend a record number of times. the majority leader has filled the amendment tree a record 66
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times, more than his six predecessors in the senate who did it a total of 40 times. the majority leader has shut off the right to debate. he calls up a bill, he files cloture on it and then he has the audacity to call that a filibuster. in short, the democrats have failed to pass a budget, have failed to do a single appropriation bill and have failed to consider a defense authorization bill when we have troops in harm's way. americans need new leadership. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: a number of our colleagues have already spoken about the huge problems that we face and the president's complete failure to lead. we have got a $16 trillion debt, millions out of work, the biggest tax hike in history looming, and our military faces
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crippling across-the-board cuts. the nation and the world need strong american leadership and robust, robust political institutions to meet these challenges, but the president with a lot of help, a lot of help from the democrat-controlled senate has deliberately chosen inaction. why? because over the past two years, the democratic senate has seen itself as an extension of the president's reelection campaign rather than a forum for solving the nation's problems. everything it's done and hasn't done is meant to help the president, not the american people. so our problems have only gotten worse, and the senate has of course completely broken down as
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an institution, as described by the senator from mississippi. democrats haven't passed a budget in more than three years, despite the fact that, as senator sessions pointed out, the law literally requires it. it doesn't say, don't pass a budget if it's hard, don't pass a budget if you have to negotiate with the house, don't -- you don't have to pass a budget if you have to vote. it says, pass a budget. we haven't passed a single appropriations bill, i'd say to my friend, the senior senator from mississippi. apparently all these people on the appropriations committee are completely irrelevant. senator alexander pontsed out, they did their work. never going to bring up a single bill. by the way, it's not just the appropriations committee. all of you who are on
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committees, can you remember the last time you actually marked up a bill? most committees are not marking up bills, not offering amendments in committee. so i guess the new rule is no amendments in committee and no amendments on the floor. there are a lot of senators around here of both parties who are wondering what their job is. i got elected by the people of my state. what is this job i got? i'm on committees that don't do anything. nobody votes on amendments. all the legislation we have, if we have any, is written in the majority leader's office. and senator isakson, i think it was who pointed out -- or it was senator enzi -- that all we do is have bills with fancy titles and a poison pill. and only one vote because you
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know if you get on bill, there won't be be any amendments. all the members are wondering why they're here. they fought hard for these jobs, defeated intelligent, well-funded opponents, got here all ready to go to work, and nothing happened. not just one week or a month or six months; two years -- two years. senator mccain pointed out, no defense authorization bill. we've managed to get around to doing that no matter what our differences were for half a century; a half a century. this democratic-controlled senate gives do-nothing congresses a bad name. a complete disgrace. never before has the senate and
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a president done less to address such great challenges that we have. i know i can speak for every single member of the republican conference in the senate, regardless of our philosophical differences with our friends on the other side, we take our jobs seriously. we think the people who sent us here expected us to function. ranand we intend to do it. so if the american people decide they want to make a change, the commitment i make to them is the republican conference is going to pass a budget. it may be hard. we may have to twist a few arms. there may be some people that don't want to do it. we may have to do it on a partisan basis, if our friends on the other side don't want to join with us.
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but the law doesn't say, don't do it if it's hard. it says, do it. and the appropriations committee deals with the discretionary budget of the united states government. it ought to be allowed to do its job. not everybody is going to vote for every bill, but we're going to function. we owe it to the american people to do, at the very least, the basic work of government. we've got problems beyond the basic work of government. certainly we were going to have differences after the 2010 election, which could best be described as a national restraining order. the american people took a look at what this government did under this president's
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leadership for the first two years and they said, we've had enough of that. and they flipped the house of representatives and made us a more robust minority in the senate. and they understood we weren't going to do nymph what we did the first two -- to do nymph what we did the first -- to do any more of what we did the first two years. but that's not an excuse for not doing anything. they said, we don't want to do any more of all this new stuff that was done in 2009 and 2010. no, no, they don't want to do nymph that. but they didn't send us here to do nothing. they assumed we'd at least be able do the basic work of government. it's embarrassing. it's embarrassing. for the sake of this institution and for the sake of our country,
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we need to straighten this place out. we need an attitude change. this is not about the rules. the rules have remained largely the same over the years. this is about us. and this problem can be fixed. all we have to do is decide to operate differently. no matter who is up or who is down, there are basic things this institution owes the american people, which is to get the basic work of government done. so the pledge we make to the american people, if they decide they want to try new leadership in the senate, we will do these things, even if they're hard. and beyond the basic things, let me say to our friends on the other side, we've got big problems that we're never going to be able to solve without some bipartisan commitment to do it.
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we're drowning in a sea of debt. we know we cannot save this country unless we make the entitlement programs fit the demographics of our country. we got a lot of other problems. we got taxes. we got sequester. but the way i tend to think of that is that's the chairs on the titanic. you can rearrange the chairs, figure out the tax problems, figure out the sequester problem. the hi ship is still going down unless we make our entitlement programs meet and fit the demographics of our country. we probably won't be able to do that, one party only. it's time for some statesmen to show up. you know, we've had an election every two years since 1788, right on schedule. at any point in american history, people could have said, oh, we can't do. there's an election coming up. there is ealways an election coming up in america. that's what we do.
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the fact that we have an election coming up is not an excuse for not tackling the tough problems. so no matter what the american people decide this november, no matter what they decide, the problems are there. and our commitment to the american people is, if we're in the majority, we'll do the basic work of government and our hand will be out to our colleagues on the other side and whoever the president of the united states is. it is time to tackle the biggest problems in the country, the most predictable crisis in american history. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: is the time for the republicans expired? the presiding officer: the republicans have three minutes remaining. mr. mcconnell: [inaudible]
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mr. reid: thank you. mr. president, i haven't been able to watch all the speeches by my friends on the other side of the aisle, but i've watched enough to understand what's going on. could we have order? the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. will senators please take their conversations off the floor. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, this has been a remarkable show of hubris or arrogance. from the republican side of the aisle, one after another you th- the h. one after another, the republicans have stood complaining aboucomplainabout ht an lot done. mr. president, the presiding officer has been one of the leaders in having a more
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effective senate, because my friend, the presiding officer, has watched what the republicans have done. we're going to do something about t the presiding officer knows that. i know that. what they have done is the very definition of chutzpah. nerve -- what nerve, mr. president. they're complaining about a result that they themselves created? they've created the fact we haven't gotten anything done. they're good at it, from stopping a bill -- mr. president, stopping a bill that would allow veterans to get jobs. they stopped it on a technicality. they have conducted filibuster after filibuster, blocking one bill after another, and then
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they complaining the senate can't pass anything. when they're the ones holding things up. the record is pretty detailed and deep, and i'm not going to cover it all today because really it is significant. i said here yesterday, i've been the leader for six years. i may be off one or two ... i've had to file motions to overcome 382 filibusters in six years. knownow, i know the senate has changed since london johnson was the majority leader. but during the six years that he was the majority leader, he had to file cloture once. to think that they're here complaining that they're not getting -- we're not getting
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anything done when they're the ones that caused it? and, mr. president, we start from this point: i have to say, the republican leader -- i appreciate his being so candid and honest with the american people. when he stood at the beginning of this congress and said his number-one goal was to stop president obama from being reelected. that is what he said, and they have legislated accordingly. stopping us from doing the most important things for this country. measures to create jobs they have stopped, measures to stop jobs from being lost they've stopped. they've done it so many times. mr. president, how about this: we've lost approximately a million teachers, fair fighters, and police officers -- firefighters and police officers.
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because of republicans stopping us from et going things done. really hurting state and local government. so we over here thought it would be a good idea that we stop these significant layoffs of teachers, firefighters, and police officers, and we wanted to make sure that it's paid for and we agreed that it should be paid for. 10 we said, okay, no more layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police officers and we're going to pay for it. how are we going to pay pour it? anymore making more than $1 million a year would have to pay a surtax of .03%. every republican voted against that. the veterans jobs bill that i just talked about, cybersecurity bill -- mr. president, the pentagon has said the most important issue facing this country is cybersecurity.
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the national security agency, most important issue facing this country -- cybersecurity. we know, they know, the republicans know, because they were down at the same demonstration that i had of our intelligence agency showing what would happen if a cybersecurity attack took place in the northeast just dealing with the power grid. we know it can happen. senator feinstein i have heard her say several times, the chairman of our intelligence committee, it's not a question of if, it's a when of -- a question of when. the republicans blocked a cybersecurity bill, stopped it. they have conducted filibuster after filibuster, blocking one bill after another. they have blocked the bill to stop outsourcing jobs more than once.
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on all these tv ads that you see, we thought it would be kind of a good idea that the american people knew who was paying for these ads, but no, twice they said no, let's keep them secret. crossroads u.s.a., whatever the name they have there, committee on all these names that sound so good, but we would be better served, i think, if people knew the ads were being paid for by sheldon addleson from las vegas or simmons from texas who is boasting about giving $34 million to defeat president obama, and that's what the republican leader wants. passage of several small business jobs bill, one july 12 just a month or two ago, motion to proceed, paycheck fairness,
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violence against women. april 16, they blocked a motion to proceed by imposing a minimum tax rate on high-income taxpayers, the buffett rule, warren buffett. he wants to make sure that he pays a tax rate comparable to his secretary. that's what we wanted. they defeated that. they have blocked many bills dealing with unnecessary tax subsidies for these large oil companies. they have held up hundreds of measures out of the energy committee, hundreds. it used to be we passed here just matter of factually. senator stabenow had a terrific amendment to prevent a tax increase on american businesses. she wanted to do it by extending the expiring tax credits for energy. that's created hundreds of thousands of jobs in america.
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they blocked the nomination for weeks and weeks for cordray to be the director of consumer financial information. they blocked judge after judge after judge. they blocked a bill to put workers back on the job on rebuilding, modernizing america's infrastructure. it creates jobs. they blocked motions to a bill to keep teachers, first responders, in addition to the one i just talked about, other ones. they have blocked, reauthorized the economic development administration. this has been something we have done for 25, 30 years. they blocked it. we wanted to reduce the deficit by doing something about these outlandish subsidies we give big oil. blocked it. we were trying to do a bill to create some jobs.
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we spent weeks because they wanted to dictate what women could do dealing with contraception. and then they have got this little -- this deal they have with the house republicans. if we work and are able once in a while to get something done over here like a postal bill to save our postal system, then the republicans block it in the house. farm bill, reduce the debt by $23 billion. they have this deal with the house. now they block that. china currency, same thing. they block it over there in the house. the record is very, very clear, mr. president. the party of trying to defeat president obama has done everything they can to make the economy look as bad as they can
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because they think if the economy is really bad, it's going to help them get re-elected -- defeat president obama. the middle class, we know how they feel about the middle class. that was exemplified by statements that came out in the last few days by their presidential nominee. mr. president, this morning, i -- as i said, i wasn't able to listen to everything, but i listened to enough. one party stands for object instruction and the rich. mr. president, the big lie. listen to this. how many times did we have the republicans come to this floor and say they have not passed a budget? mr. president, i have served in this congress for 30 years and i have admired two people very, very much for their knowledge of certain things, but one person i have admired dealing with the finances of this country more than anyone else is someone that
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i came to the senate with 26 years ago, kent conrad. kent conrad has come here and time and time again and said yes, we didn't pass a budget resolution because we didn't need to, we passed a law. that's why the c.r. is going forward. we passed a law that set numbers for us. it is a big lie for them to come here and say we haven't passed a budget. it is a lie. it is untruthful. now, mr. president, my friend who we have served with in congress, we came on the same day, the senior senator from arizona, i've said before, i say again, i admire him, i admire his service to our country, but for him to come and say that the senate is not working well because of the democrats, that's one of the big lies.
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we have tried to legislate. they are holding up virtually everything we try to do. including the defense authorization bill. i have been waiting for months, months for them to come to me with an agreement. this is part of their big game they're playing here to try to make us look bad when they're the cause of it, mr. president. they are the reason we haven't done this legislation. we can't. we spend weeks, weeks on things that are -- that we would have done in a matter of an hour, 20 minutes before. republicans are complaining about a result that they members caused. the defense authorization bill, we're going to come back here after the election and we'll get that done with their help.
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mr. president, here is the issue with the republicans. here is why suddenly they are all upset. they have been upset for some time, but really this week has been something that would upset nearly everyone because we thought the olympics were over, but yesterday we saw it in full go. we had republicans running to break marathon records, sprint records to get away from their presidential nominee because it makes it a little hard for them when they have someone that's running for president representing their party who says i am only going to worry about half the people in this country. we're going to continue to work to our -- the best that we can, mr. president, to move forward with the legislation that we feel is important. we're going to come back after the lame duck -- i'm sorry, the
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lame duck after the election, and hopefully they will decide at that time maybe they have something better to do than to try to make the president of the united states look bad. now, mr. president, we have been been -- we are a very fortunate country. we have a two-party system that's the envy of the rest of the world. these parliament governments work for months and weeks, sometimes longer than that trying to form a government. we don't have to do that. we're a government of laws and we have a system that works pretty well, but we know based on some academic work that has been done it's not just me up here talking. we have two of the foremost experts that have watched this country for more than 40 years, thomas mann and the brookings institute, norm ornstein from the american enterprises institute said the problem with government today is the republicans. they said they had been here all
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for 40 years, they have never seen anything like it. i have never seen anything like it. i have been here 40 years. we used to work together, mr. president. when i came here with the senate, we had republican senators and democratic senators. we joined hands and we got things done. now because they are being led by someone who believes that the most important thing to do is to defeat obama, we're getting nothing done. they are following like recommendation off the cliff. -- they are following like lem lemings off the cliff. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: one of the greatest orators in the history of the english-speaking people was winston churchill. i can't tell you how many times i have read and reread his speeches and heard his great efforts to summon the courage of the british people during war war. in one respect, the speech earlier this morning by senator mcconnell was churchillian, in
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the tradition of winston churchill, because they once said to winston churchill what do you think history will have to say about you? he said i'm not worried about what history has to say about me because i'm going to write the history. this morning, senator mcconnell decided to write the history of the senate session, and unfortunately his version was a little bit different than the memory of most of us in terms of what's actually happened. oh, this we do remember. in the beginning of the obama presidency, a short time after the president had been sworn in and asked to try to take this failing economy and put it back on its feet, when we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, when businesses were failing, when american families were losing one-third of the value of their savings, when the stock market was plummeting, when we run the risk of a global fiscal crisis, when we were sending $800 billion to the biggest banks in america to save them from their own greed and
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stupidity, at that time the republican leader senator mcconnell said my highest priority is to make sure that barack obama is a one-term president. his highest priority. well, that's a fact. that's on the record. that's on tape if you want to see it. and he lived up to that in terms of his own ambition as the republican leader. when the president came up with a stimulus bill to turn this economy around, we had three republicans who would join us, three of them. what happened to those three republicans? one of them, senator specter of pennsylvania, was then threatened with defeat in the republican primary for joining in a bipartisan effort to save the economy. he switched parties, came over to the democratic side. he said this isn't the republican party i remember. another one, senator snowe of maine, announced her retirement a few months back and said i can't take the partisanship and
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division. the third, senator collins, still survives. those three were the only three who would stand up with the president to try to get this economy back on track. when it came to health care reform, after months of effort by senator baucus to bring in republicans to craft the bill, senator grassley who was leading the effort on the republican side went back to iowa in august, had a town meeting and said i'm finished, no more bipartisan negotiation on health care reform, and they wouldn't give us a single vote, not one vote to pass health care reform. same thing true when it came to wall street reform. to put in oversight, to avoid another fiscal crisis generated by the perfidy of greed on wall street. time and time and time again, republicans refuse to stand with us. to my left here, senator conrad of north dakota has been our chairman of the budget committee. he put in a sincere bipartisan good-faith effort to deal with
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the deficit with senator judd gregg, a republican of new hampshire, a man who commanded respect on his side of the aisle as senator conrad does as well, and they came up with a notion. here is what it was. we would create a commission, a commission that would investigate the deficit crisis, and if 14 of the 18 members of the commission voted to go forward, it would come immediately to the floor for a vote. you know, we had a lot of senators who were cosponsoring. democrats and republicans finally said that will break the logjam. then we called it on the floor, senator conrad. does my memory serve me correctly that the republican leader, senator mcconnell, who was a cosponsor of this commission, deficit commission, along with six other republican senators, changed their votes on the floor and defeated the very bill they had cosponsored to deal with our nation's deficit? you didn't hear that this morning, did you? all the speeches from the other
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side about dealing with the deficit, perhaps senator mcconnell and those six other senators, those still remaining, would like to explain why they reversed course and said no, they didn't want to be part of the effort. but it happened. it happened for certain. and as senator reid came to the floor and explained, they have broken all records in the united states senate for filibusters. boy, i tell you what, if you have got a table tv at home and you have c-span on it and you turn on the senate, i know a lot of people across america are calling in to the cable channel providers and asking for a refund. why in the world do we have a channel where nothing happens except an occasional mention during a senator's name during a quorum call? you know why? 382 filibusters on the republican side. 382 delays in the senate. well, what kind of things are they filibustering? just saw one thing week -- a veterans' jobs bill. a veterans' jobs bill was
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subject of a two-week filibust filibuster. a bill which should have passed by voice vote if every senator who went back home for a 4th of july parade, grabbed the flag and wawd down the middle of the street and said -- walked down the middle of the street and said how much they love the veterans would have voted for it, we would have passed it. instead, instead they filibust filibustered. one of 382 filibusters. i'm glad senator conrad's here to explain this whole budget resolution issue. he can do it better than anyone. but i will tell you this, senator. i took a look this morning, of the 30 senators on the republican side who got up to speak, about 10 of them talked about the fact that there was no budget, that we didn't have a budget this year, we don't have a budget next year. and then i took a look at the votes on the budget control act. those same 10 senators voted for the budget control act, a law which controls the budget for two years. i am calling for an official investigation by the attending
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physician to see if there is something in the coffee urn in the republican cloakroom causing amnesia. that knees senators would come to the floor and forget that they voted -- that these senators would come to the floor and forget that they voted for the budget control act and make speeches like they didn't or they never heard of it. let me also say something about entitlements. senator mcconnell spoke to the issue of entitlements. he's right, it's an important part of what we need to do to right this ship,&to deal with, l with our deficit. it would have been part of the conversation for the commission, the conrad-gregg commission, which seven republican senators torpedoed, including the republican majority leader. you can go through the bills, as the majority leader has, and talk about efforts that we've made. we have passed some bills on a bipartisan basis. we passed a postal reform bill to make sure that the best postal service in the world survives, passed it with a bipartisan vote. dead in the house. we passed a transportation bill,
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senator boxer, senator inhofe put it together, strong bipartisan vote to build the infrastructure of america. passed it in the senate. died in the house. we passed a farm bill, senator stabenow of michigan, senator roberts of kansas, bipartisan farm bill that gave us a good architecture for the future of farm programs and reduced the deficit by $23 billion, passed it on a bipartisan basis in the senate. died in the house of representatives. the tea party faction in the house will not allow it to go forward. senator reid also made the point. what was the first amendment, the first republican amendment on the transportation bill? think about this for a second. the first republican a.m. on the transportatiothe -- the first rn bill, they wouldn't let us move forward to that bill unless we would let them consider an amendment which would reduce the opportunity for women across america to have access to family planning. on the transportation bill?
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and they are arguing that we're finding ways to slow down the senate? well, the blunt amendment was defeated but it's an indication of political gamesmanship that's gone on at the expense of important bills like the transportation bill. and the last point i want to make is this. we know that if we're going to thrive in this country, the middle-class working families in this country need a chance. senators on this side of the aisle as well as president obama want to give working families, middle-income families a tax break. and we passed it so that they'll have a tax reduction to help them as they struggle from paycheck to paycheck. sent it over to the house of representatives, where it is never going to be taken up for a vote. that is the sad reality. so as the republicans came to the floor this morning and gave us this grand vision of when they were in control, they tried to rewrite history.
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maybe churchill was capable of doing that, but i would say the republican senators failed to meet that challenge this morning. i yield the floor. mr. conrad: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from north dakota is recognized. mr. conrad: first, i thank my colleagues for their kind words. senator reid, our leader, and senator durbin of the my colleague, i very much appreciate those kind words. i also must say, i'm a little taken aback by what i heard earlier on the floor from some of my republican colleagues because it really does represent an attempt to rewrite history, at least the history that i've lived. i'm in my 26th year in the united states senate. i announced a year and a half ago, a little more than that, that i would not seek reelection. so i don't have a political ox to gore here. but i am here to report what i
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have seen after 26 years of service here. and let me just start by saying our republican colleagues at the leadership level decided early on that their strategy to be successful was to stop things from passing in the united states senate. it is very clear that has been their strategy. that's why we have seen more than 380 filibusters in this body, which is completely unprecedented in the history of the united states senate. because the republican leader made very clear years ago his highest priority was to defeat for reelection president obama. he did not say his top priority was to solve the problems of the country. he did not say his top priority was to get our economy back on track. he did not say his top priority
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was to address the deficits and debt of the nation. he did not say his top priority was to improve the security position of the united states. he said his top priority was to defeat president obama. shame on him. shame on him. that should never be the top priority of a leader in this body, republican or democrat. the top priority ought to be to help solve the problems the country confronts. mr. president, i'm a little cranky because many of my colleagues know my wife and i have a little dog, dakota, who is suffering from cancer. and last night we were up from 12:30 to 5:30 as he was bleeding internally. and so i must say, i'm a little cranky, having been up most of the night. and i got a lot crankier when i heard colleagues say things that they know are not true.
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that they know are not true. when they say there is no budget for the united states, they know that is not true. how do i know that it is true, that there is a budget? well, because i remember what we voted on and it's in writing. it's a law. it's called the budget control act. and the budget control act passed last year contained the budget for 2012 and 2013. some say, well, that's not a budget. well, let's look to the language of the law itself and see what it says. here's what it says. "for the purpose of enforcing the congressional budget act of 1974, including section 300 of that act, and enforcing
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budgetary points of order in prior concurrent resolutions on the budget, the allocations, aggregates and spending levels set shall apply in the senate in the same manner as for a concurrent resolution on the budget." what they're trying to do is mislead the american people by saying we've not passed a budget resolution. what they fail to tell people is that instead of a budget resolution, we passed a budget law. what's the difference? a resolution is purely a congressional document. it never goes to the president for his signature. a budget resolution is purely a congressional document. it never goes to the president for his signature. so instead of a resolution, we
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passed a budget law called the budget control act, and it set out spending limits not just for 2012 and 2013. it actually set out on the screationary side of the budget limits for ten years. mr. president, in fact, the budget control act in many ways is more extensive than any budget resolution could provide. it has the force of law unlike a budget resolution that's not signed by the president. it set discretionary caps on spending for ten years instead of the one year normally set in a budget resolution. it provided enforcement mechanisms, including a two-year provision allowing budget points of order to be enforced and it creates a reconciliation-like
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super committee process to address entitlement and tax reforms and said if the special committee couldn't agree on reforming the entitlement programs and the tax system of the united states, there would be an additional $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. mr. president, let's add it up. the budget control act first cut $900 billion from the discretionary accounts over ten years. then it said if the super committee didn't reform the tax system, didn't reform the entitlement system of the country, there would be another $1.2 trillion from the discretionary accounts over the next ten years. that is a total of $2.1 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. that is the biggest package of spending cuts in the history of the united states.
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now, that's a fact. the budget control act set the spending limits for 2012 and 2013 and further set limits for eight years beyond that. so when they say there's no budget resolution, what they fail to tell people is there is a budget law. mr. president, it's interesting if we compare and contrast what their side presented as their priorities in a budget, because mr. ryan, now their candidate for vice president, came before the house of representatives and laid out his budget blueprint. and what does that do? well, first of all, it extends all of the bush era tax cuts. now, think about this.
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here we have a circumstance in which the revenue of the country is at or near a 60-year low and the first thing the ryan budget does is extend all the bush era tax cuts, even those for the very highest income, but then says, but that's not enough for the wealthiest among us, so the ryan budget, after extending all the bush-era tax cuts, goes and provides another trillion dollars of tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. i've got nothing against wealthy people. i would hope all americans have the opportunity to become wealthy. that would be my fondest hope. that's really why i was drawn to public service -- what could i do that would strengthen the economy of the united states? it's always been my top priority. it's what i truly believe is essential to our democracy.
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but in a circumstance in which we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, to say the answer is more and more tax cuts for the very wealthiest among us? and then to try to pay for it by shredding the social safety net that is critically important to those who are the least fortunate among us? frankly, i think that fails the moral test. i think that fails any moral test of government. the ryan budget, which our colleagues have endorsed here, would give on average those earning over a million dollars a year an additional tax reduction of $265,000 a year.
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now, i know if i were listening to this, i'd say, how can it be that somebody earning over a million can get a $265,000 tax cut, because that's about all they'd pay in taxes? remember, we're talking about the average for those earning over a million dollars a year. so we're talking about not just people who earn a million dollars a year but people who earn hundreds of millions of dollars a year. and the average tax cut provided in the ryan budget for those folks is another $265,000 a year. mr. president, what -- what does ryan do in order to offset that massive additional tax cut for the very wealthiest among us? well, here is an interesting quote from a former top economic advisor to ronald reagan, a man
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named bruce bartlett who was a top economic advisor to ronald reagan. here's what he said about the ryan budget that our colleagues here have endorsed. distributionly, the ryan plan is a monstrosity. the rich would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would be shredded to pay for them. even as an opening bid to begin budget negotiations with the democrats, the ryan plan cannot be taken seriously. it is less of a wish list than a fairy tale utterly disconnected from the real world, backed up by make-believe numbers and unreasonable assumptions. ryan's plan isn't even an act of courage, it's just pandering to the tea party. a real act of courage would have been for him to admit, as all serious budget analysts know, that the revenues will have to rise well above 19% of g.d.p. to stabilize the debt. mr. president, those are not my words. those are the words of a top
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economic advisor to president ronald reagan. the reagan -- the ryan plan is a monstrosity. mr. president, if anybody seriously studies the ryan budget, you have to conclude that mr. bartlett is correct because not only does he cut taxes in a very dramatic way for the richest among us -- let me just be clear. first thing he does is extend all the bush-era tax cuts. then on top of that he cuts the top rate from 35% to 25%. that provides over a trillion dollars of additional tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. and they refuse to do anything to close the tax loopholes that are allowing certain wealthy people to avoid paying taxes in
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this country entirely. i've shown on the floor of the senate many times a picture of a five-story building in the cayman islands called the ugland house. the ugland house claims to be the home of 18,000 companies. a little five-story building in the cayman islands claims to be the home of 18,000 companies. i say that's the most efficient building in the world. can you imagine 18,000 companies operating out of a little five-story building down in the cayman islands? all those companies claim they're doing business out of that little building for a reason. they claim they're doing business out of that little building in the cayman islands because they don't want to pay taxes in the united states. so you know what they do? it's very clever. through paper manipulations, they show the profits of certain
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of their companies in the cayman islands rather than in the places where they actually earned the profits. why would they do that? well, because the cayman islands doesn't have a corporate income tax. and so by showing their profits in the cayman islands, even though in truth, they were never earned in the cayman islands, but through accounting gimmicks they show their profits in the cayman islands, they aren't taxed. and they avoid paying here what they legitimately owe here. and what does that mean? that means all the rest of us get stuck paying for ourselves and them. mr. president, the ryan budget i said earlier fails the moral test. well, you know, it's not just
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my judgment that it fails the moral test. because how can you justify cutting taxes dramatically for the wealthiest among us and then turn around and shred medicare, which is what the ryan budget did? the ryan budget that he initially proposed took medicare, which currently puts -- finances 75% of health care costs for seniors who are eligible, the ryan budget over time would switch that so that instead of medicare paying 75%, medicare would pay 32%. so just to be clear, under the ryan plan we would wind up with a situation in which the majority of your health care costs, if you're eligible for medicare, would be paid by you, not by medicare.
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that's to make up for the massive tax cuts he gives the wealthiest among us. here's what the catholic bishops said. the catholic bishops said the ryan budget fails the moral test. mr. president, i agree with the catholic bishops. this is what they said in the -- this is "the washington post" in 2012. a week after house budget committee chairman paul ryan said that his catholic faith inspired the republican's cost-cutting budget plan, the nation's catholic bishops reiterated their demand that the federal budget protect the poor and said the g.o.p. measure fails to meet these moral criteria. mr. president, in any moral test that i know of in any religion, you don't take from those who have the least to give it to those who have the most.
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i don't know of any religion that practices that as an article of faith. that you take from those that much the least -- that have the least to give to those that have the most. now, anybody that knows me knows i'm pretty conservative. i come from a business family. i have a master's in business administration. i have been throughout my career somebody who has been judged fiscally conservative, somebody that believes deeply in balancing budgets. i was the grandfather of the bowles-simpson commission, served on it proudly, was one of the 11 votes for its product, five democrats, five republicans and one independent. and, by the way, when our colleagues said we haven't worked in bipartisan way, i've spent five years in a bipartisan way to get our deficits and debt under control. senator gregg gregg, the
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ranking republican on the budget committee, and i proposed the bowles-simpson commission. we served on it. we voted for it. subsequently served on the group of six, three democrats, three republicans that were given assignment by our colleagues to come up with a plan to reduce the deficit. worked a year and a half to try to find a bipartisan solution. we've had the biden group, we've had the super committee, all bipartisan efforts that have gone on for years to try to produce an agreement. so our friends say there hasn't been an effort, that's just not true. but what is also true is when our friends on the other side of the aisle were in charge, they brought this economy to the brink of financial collapse. that's the truth.
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anybody who doubts it, simply go back to the end of the bush administration and see where the country was. the stock market was collapsing, housing market was collapsing, the financial system was collapsing. that's what president obama inherited. he did not create those crises, he inherited them. at the time president obama came into office, the economy was shrinking at a right of almost 9% a year. we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. now the economy is growing at a rate of about 2% a year, and we're gaining about 200,000 jobs a month. that is a dramatic turnaround. so when they ask the question, are we better off now than four years ago? undeniably, we are better off.
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undeniably we are better off. we've on from an economy shrinking more than 8% to one growing 2%. we have moved from a time we were losing 800,000 jobs a month to a time when we are gaining 200,000 jobs a month. we have gone from a circumstance in which the stock market was plunging to a circuit in -- circumstance in which the stock market whas hast about doubled during -- has about doubled during the time of president president obama. president obama inherit towed wars, a war on terror, a financial system that was collapsing, a financial system that had seen under the previous president the debt double, foreign holdings of u.s. debt were tripled, and this president has ended the slide and got us going back in the right direction. and with precious little help from the other side.
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mr. president, i ask the american people before they cast their votes to think back to the final days of the bush administration. i will never forget as long as i live being called to an emergency meeting in this building with the secretary of the treasury in the bush administration, the chairman of the federal reserve, the leaders, republicans and democrats of the house and senate, and being told by the secretary of the treasury in the bush administration and the chairman of the federal reserve that if they did not act, they expected a financial collapse within days. a financial collapse within days. those were in the final months of the bush administration. that is what president barack obama inherited. the hard fact is when our colleagues were in charge of everything, they had the house, they had the senate, they controlled the white
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house, they brought this country to the brink of financial collapse. that is is act favment -- a fact. mr. president, thank goodness this president acting with this congress was able to draw us back from the brink. but we got a long way to go. we got a long way to go. and it's going to take everybody working together to pull this out of the ditch completely. i have been part of major efforts for the last five years, bipartisan efforts, bowles-simpson, group of six, right now the -- we have the group of six has been expanded to a group of eight. we have been working nonstop, hundreds of hours of discussions on a bipartisan plan, four democrats, four republicans,
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to be enacted when we return, to get america back on track. mr. president, that's what's required here. what we saw this morning from our colleagues on the other side, that's not the answer. that's the problem. the same old, tired political gamesmanship is not going to cut it. what we desperately need is republicans and democrats working together to solve america's problems. that's what we owe the american people. and i very much hope when we return after this election that colleagues on both sides will be prepared to act in that spirit. i thank the chair and yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island is recognized. mr. whitehouse: i'm very proud to follow chairman conrad to the
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floor at this time. there is no person in the united states senate who has worked harder on a budget compromise than senator conrad has. there's -- there is no person who has put out the hand of bipartisan friendship and cooperation more than senator conrad has. there is no person who has experienced more frustration of having that hand rejected and slapped away than senator conrad has and there is no person who has contained that frustration and continued to work forward and seek resolution in a dig fied way than -- dignified way than senator conrad has. is senate republicans this morning who took to the floor this morning to criticize democrats for failing to pass a budget and deal with the impending sequester and tax cuts expiration failed to note that senate democrats have in fact passed a budget law and a bill
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to extend the tax cuts for 98% of americans and 97% of small businesses. it's to protect the 2% and the 3% at the top of the income level that republicans have refused to allow that bill protecting 98% of americans and 97% of small businesses from tax increases from going forward. s -- senate democrats also want a balanced approach to replacing the sequester and reducing the deficit. what they didn't talk much about, but which is very important in this discussion, is the ryan plan. the republican ryan plan for the budget. this past may, 41 of our senate republican colleagues voted in favor of a radical transformation of the america we
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know. and the republican-controlled house passed this budget, a budget that would devastate the middle class. the plan would end medicare as we know it for future retirees. it would reopen the medicare prescription drug doughnut hole that we closed for current retirees. it would slash investments that america's children depend on from head start to federal college age. and it would give the average $1 million and over earner a new additional tax cut of on average $265,000 each in that $1 million-plus earner cohort. the blockade here that is preventing moving beyond the sequester is by republicans, particularly in the house, refusing to proceed in any reasonable way, and instead
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demanding these damaging radical cuts for the middle class. let's look a little bit behind the curtain of campaign rhetoric and examine the harm, the personal real-life, real-person harm that the ryan budget would inflict on millions of middle-class families and retirees. in what is one of the extraordinary examples of say one thing but do another rhetoric, mr. ryan in his recent nomination acceptance speech said the greatest responsibility of of the strong to protect the weak. the test of a society is how it treats those who cannot take care of themselves. his budget does the opposite. it slashes taxes for the most well off while decimating the programs on which struggling families and retirees rely.
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don't take my word for t. following the house passage of this ryan budget, the conference of catholic bishops said -- and i quote -- "congress faces a difficult task to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices. just solutions, however, "the bishop said, "must require shared sacrifice by all, eliminating -- and fairly addressing the budget programs. the house-passed budget resolution fails to meet these budget criteria." that's what the conference of catholic bishops said. i'll say it again, the house-passed budget resolution failed to meet these moral criteria. that's not me speaking. that is the conference of
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america's catholic bishops. so let's start our look behind the curtain, the curtain of the budget that fails this moral test but that governor romney said was marvelous, to use his word. let's start with the budget's tax theories. the ryan budget would lower the top tax rates for both corporations and the highest-earning individuals from 35% to 25%. according to the joint economic committee analysis, this would result in an average tax cut of $285,000 for americans earning $1 million a year and more. at the same time middle-income taxpayers making between $50,000 and $100,000 would see their taxes go up -- go up -- by $1,300 because middle-class deductions are stripped away to
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pay for the high-end cuts. ryan would also shift at the corporate level to a so-called territorial tax system which would mean that companies that ship jobs and operations overseas would no longer have to pay any u.s. taxes on their overseas profits. democrats have tried repeat lid to offer -- tried repeatedly to offer tax incentives to companies that bring jobs home to the united states, and nobody in this body has worked harder on bringing jobs home to the united states than the presiding officer, the senator from ohio, senator brown. well, the ryan plan would do exactly the opposite. it would tell big corporations that if they move their business operations overseas, they'll never pay taxes on those again. the ryan plan is really a jobs bill for china, for india, for
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korea. not for america. it's an offshoring rewards act. in addition to those upside down tax changes that harm the middle class and raise their taxes to cut taxes for the highest earners in this country, in addition to its inducements to offshore more jobs instead of bringing them home, the ryan budget would slash $2.9 trillion from our health care programs beginning for workers who retire in 2023, mr. ryan would convert medicare to a voucher system, which according to the nonpartisan congressional budget office would ultimately add an estimated $6,000 in annual out-of-pocket costs that our retirees, our seniors, would have to fork over. it's hard to imagine how future seniors living on a fixed social security income will be able to maintain health care coverage with these substantial increases and out-of-pocket costs that
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mr. ryan's budget envisions. if the republicans are saying that they won't make the deal that spares us the sequester unless that deal puts an end to medicare as we know it, holding medicare hostage, well it then takes some brass, to use president clinton's phrase, to say that we are for the sequester. the ryan budget doesn't stop there. it would repeal the affordable care act and take away access to affordable health insurance for millions of americans of all ages. and of course repealing the affordable care act hits seniors again by reopening that dreaded medicare prescription drug doughnut hole that we worked so hard to close, and that is closed over time in the affordable care act. in 2011 alone, the affordable
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care act helped nearly 15,000 people in my home state of rhode island save an average of $554 by beginning to close the doughnut hole. millions of dollars out of the pockets of rhode island seniors. that made a big difference for people like olive who wrote to me from woonsocket. her husband fell into the doughnut hole last july. olive and her husband received a discount on prescription drugs. they saved $2,404. if the ryan bill passed they would be stuck, $2,400 out of the hands of olive and her husband and into the hands of the drug companies. gee, who would be for that around here? in fact, under the ryan budget, the average senior would be stuck with $4,200 in additional out-of-pocket prescription costs, a huge transfer of wealth for america's seniors to the big drug companies.
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repealing the affordable care act wouldn't just harm seniors. it would also mean insurance plans would no longer have to cover young adults up to age 26 on their parents' plan. this moves over three million young americans just getting out of college, still looking for that first job that has health insurance coverage back on to the rolls of the uninsured. the radical ryan budget would also hurt young people by slashing pell grants, making college less affordable. students and graduates are already struggling to pay a record $1 trillion that americans now owe in outstanding student loans, and the ryan plan would force students to take on even greater debt burdens. on top of these specific cuts, the ryan budget takes an additional $1 trillion in unspecified discretionary spending cuts. domestic discretionary funding is the money that's used to keep the government operating each year. f.b.i. agents investigating case
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-gs, border patrol eights working our -- border patrol agents working our borders, employees mailing out social security checks and many other important programs and functions. it's already at its lowest level since a shared g.d.p. since the 1950's. it's hard to imagine any other federal investment not being jeopardized by such draconian cuts. and that is why president reagan -- president reagan's former economic advisor said about this ryan budget plan, "the ryan plan is a monstrosity." the reagan economic advisor. ronald reagan's economic advisor said "the ryan plan is a monstrosity. the rich would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would be shredded to pay for them. it is less of a wish list than a
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fairy tale, you utterly disconnd from the real world, backed up by make-believe numbers and unreasonable assumptions." if that's what ronald reagan's economic advisor thought about it, think what regular people might think about it. ryan's plan isn't even an act of courage. it's just pandering to the tea party. but that is what is being held hostage on this sequester. mr. president, i hope when the election season is over, no matter who wins, that republicans will work with us without insisting on a monstrosity, without insisting on the end of medicare, on a balanced and reasonable plan to reduce the deficit. with a record national debt, now is no time for more tax giveaways to billionaires as mr. ryan proposes, but rather it is a time to ensure that america where everyone gets a fair shot,
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everyone pitches in their fair share and we go forward as a country together as we always have in our best days. i thank the chair and i yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from washington state is recognized. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i caught some of the dog and pony show that republicans put on this morning on the floor of the senate, and i thought it was pretty indicative of their approach to this entire congress. all politics, no participation. you know, someone must have reminded them this morning that they are 47 days away from an election and that for the last 624 days of this congress, they have done nothing but say "no." but, mr. president, i'm here to say that an hour of speeches on the senate floor cannot erase an entire congress of obstruction. in fact, the republicans' show this morning remind immediate of a move i've seen many times
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before as a former preschool teacher and as a mom who's watched a lot of kids go through school, it reminded me how on the very last day of school before summers there was always one student who hadn't done their homework all year long, and on that last day they showed up on their best behavior, homework in hand, hoping to leave a good impression. they thought maybe that this last ditch-effort could help them avoid a bad grade and unfortunately it doesn't work that way. so let me assure republicans of one thing. their record of obstruction and their refusal to compromise will not go away at the 11th hour. within-minute speeches on the day -- one-minute speeches on the day they go home to face voters cannot paper over 100 filibusters. it won't change the fact that almost two years ago the senate minority leader revealed that his number-one priority was not working to get americans back to
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work. it wasn't bringing our economy back from the brink. it was not ensuring that america remained a leader at home and abroad. no. it was defeating president obama. twos -- it was playing politics just like we saw this morning. and, mr. president, there has been seemingly no group of americans -- well, with the exceptions of millionaires and billionaires -- that have been spared in the republicans' effort to achieve their goals. not our teachers, not our college students, not our farmers, not construction workers, not first responders, not even our nation's veterans have been spared their efforts to destroy the work of this congress. and there was no better example of that than just yesterday here on the floor of the united states senate. mr. president, the veterans job corps bill that we brought to the floor included 12 provisions to help veterans find jobs.
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eight of them -- let me repeat that. eight of those provisions were republican ideas. this bill was fully paid for. it was based on existing grant programs that are putting americans to work. and it would have allowed the veterans to serve their communities. it would have given unemployed veterans the self-esteem that a job provides. it would have allowed them to support their families and help ease that transition back home. that bill came at a time, mr. president, when one in four young veterans today are out of work. it came at a time when our military and veterans' suicide rates are outpacing combat deaths and when more and more, as we all know, veteransre coming home today. the american legion supported it. the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america support it. the problem was it seemed president obama supported it. so we know from everything we've
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seen and attempted on the senate floor, no matter how good or bad of an idea, no matter which struggling american would benefit, it seems that that if e president supports it you can pretty much guarantee senate republicans will not. that's the legacy senate republicans are going to take home to voters, the legacy that when middle-class american families needed their help the most, they refused to compromise to get things done. that when americans were hurting, they put politics before people. that they set a goal of not participating, and they followed through on that every single turn. mr. president, no amount of snappy speeches are going to change that. no last-minute appeals for leniency will change that record. in fact, it is ironic that this morning all of the republican senators showed up on the floor because for the last two years when the american people have needed them the most, they have been absent. thank you, mr. president.
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and, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that we have 11 unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during the session of today's senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida is recognize the. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. i came to the floor to talk briefly about an amendment we may or may not get a vote on -- it's an amendment by my colleague, senator paul -- and it really is directly related to the issues happening around the world in the last week and a half. we certainly watched in horror as our ambassador, a fantastic and honorable american, along with three of his colleagues in the american embassy -- consulate in be in benghazi was murdered last week and so i wanted to talk briefly about that because it really is an important moment in our foreign policy in the region. let me begin by expressing our
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deep condolences for that loss, all the members and the families of those folks who have died over there, our hearts are with them, our prayers are with them and we thank them for their brave service to our country and to the cause of freedom. we have the right to be angry, the american people are angry and rightfully so. you know, for years we've been investing our taxpayer dollars on aid into that region and yet we turn on the television and we see these protests against us. on the one hand, every single year we send billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of dollars to help people in the region. we help them to stand up and fight for themselves, to get rid of dictators. and then we turn on the television and we see people attacking our embassies and burning images of our president and burning our flag and chanting anti-american slogans. the american people are both confused but angry. how can this be happening? but i think it's important for us that while we have the right to be angry, we should still remain smart in our foreign policy. and i want to talk about addition what i want to talk about today is what it means to have a smart foreign policy, a
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pro-american foreign policy in that region of the world given these factors that we're facing. the amendment that senator paul's asking for a vote on would continue foreign aid of three particular conditions. three particular countries. let me begin my remarks by saying this is a complicated issue and not all these countries are the same. let me contrast two of them, for example. let's talk about egypt for a moment. now, of course, the egyptian people got rid of a dictator. they had an election. it was a very close election that was run -- that was won by the current president now, morrissey, who comes from the muslim brotherhood. and but egypt has a well-organized security apparatus, a well-organized and well-funded security apparatus. egypt has the capability to conduct counterterrorism in egypt. egypt has the capability, they have the people and the resources to protect our embassy in egypt. they have no excuse for not doing that. if they fail to do it. because they are able to do it.
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what was really troubling to me about egypt, however, was that the president over there, morrissey, rather than immediately condemn the attack against the united states and the murder of our ambassador, his first reaction was to condemn a youtube video. that's what we're talking about here, a youtube video. anyone request make a youtube video. now, there is a belief, by the way, in the muslim world that because in their countries, if you produce a youtube video, or any movie, for that matter, your government had to approve it. they think well, then in america, your government must have approved it as well. but that's not true. and their leaders know better. the leaders of these countries, they know better. some of these leaders in the egyptian government were educated in this country. they know full well that anyone can make a youtube video. but instead of standing up and explaining that to their people, they go along with this stuff. they say one thing in arabic to their people and another thing to the rest of the world in english.
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this is a long pattern of double-playing behavior that we should not stand for and should not tolerate. and it is in my mind unacceptable that a full two days went by before the egyptian government clearly condemned the attack on benghazi and clearly condemned these actions against america. contrast that with libya for a moment. libya had an election as well where two-thirds of the libyan people rejected the islamists and they elected pro-western, pro-modern, pro-progress leaders to their government. but unlike egypt, libya doesn't have the ability to protect our consulate as well. they didn't inherit from qadhafi a well-organized security apparatus. in fact, it was one of the reasons why i argued for a more forceful american engag engagemn libya. i didn't want the conflict to last that long. that protracted and long conflict in lib ya what it did is create more time and more space for these independent
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militias, these are literally independent gangs that got their hands on weapons and fought in this resolution against qadhafi. but now the central government can't get these groups to give up their arms because to do so would be to give up their power. that's why having this thing go on for as long as it did which was a terrible idea. the fact is, though, the libyans don't even have control over large portions of the country. there are entire areas of libya that the government doesn't control. and there is an increasing body of evidence that shows that what happened in benghazi was not an anti-american protest. it was not as a result of a youtube video. it was an on, traitd anti-american terrorist attack -- orchestrated anti-american terrorist attack by terrorists. not by americans, not lie libyans, by terrorists. in addition to evidence that this was a terrorist attack, not a libyan anti-americanup rising, look at the reaction in libya since the attack. i wish the media and the united states would give more coverage to the libyans in the streets protesting the terrorists,
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holding up signs apologizing. our ambassador in benghazi was loved by the libyan people, especially the people of benghazi. who credited him for saving their lives when moammar qadhafi's troops were on the outskirts of the city about to massacre them. i wish more attention were paid to that. i wish more attention were paid to the ceremonies that are happening today in tripoli honoring -- or under secretary william burns is there honoring, honoring the service of ambassador stevens. the ceremonies are going to occur in benghazi honoring him as well. i'm saying we have a government in libya that is trying to do the right thing. there are open-source reporting in the press today, 50 american f.b.i. agents are now investigating this. those are the actions of a cooperative government. they are trying to help us. they just don't have the resources to do it well. cutting off aid to them doesn't make sense to me. on the one hand, we're demanding that they protect our embassies
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but they're saying to us, we want to but we don't have the resources to do it and on the on the other hand we're threatening to take away their resources. so not all these countries are the same. and there's a lot of misconceptions floating around out there. i've heard some people say, you know what? maybe they were better off with dictators in the middle east because they could maintain order. let me tell you, that's a false choice. here's why. these dictators were no friends of america. let me give you an example in egypt, where people now say, well, this stuff didn't happen when mubarak was there. no, it happened but in a different way. let me tell you the deal mubarak and other dictatorial leaders in the regions cut with extremists. here's the deal they cut with extremists. as long as you don't do anything against us, you can do anything you want anywhere in the world. conduct all the terrorism you want, attack americans, blow up a train in spain, do whatever you want, just don't do it here. if you do it -- if you do it in your country -- if do you it in our yt, we'll cut your head off. if you do it somewhere else, that's not our business.
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that's the deal these dictators cut with extremists. and that's not a coincidence that there were egyptians involved in the 9/11 plot. and these were not egyptians that came from poor families. they came from prominent and distinguished families in egypt. which leads me to the second point. these dictators allow anti-americanism. imagine if you lived in a dictatorial country. you're not allowed to protest the government, you're not allowed to protest your leaders. there are only two things of you're allowed to protest -- america and israelly. israel. that's what everybody does. it's almost a release valve for frustrations. and then thief got a state-controlled media that feeds into anti-americanism. do you know there are outlet's in egypt as well that in america, denying the holocaust is a crime. denying the holocaust is dumb, out it's rage out but it's not a crime in america. and yet they spread these lies, these anti-american lies through the region. of course there are people in the region that hate us because our so-called dictatorial
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friends and allies have allowed anti-americanism to grow and be fostered because it helped them hold on to power. so these dictators were not good for the region and not good for america. and the choice should not be between dictators and democracies. the second fallacy is, well, we'll just have an elections, everything will be better. that's not true either. democracies can elect people that don't like us too. so this is not an easy issue to confront. but disengaging from the region is not the solution. now, i don't have a magic solution and i've only been here in the senate for about a year and a half so these are issues that i'm engaging in for the first time over the last year. but here are my opinions, given what i've learned in the first two years that i've been here. just some -- some points that i'd like to make. the first is that we should expect more. we should expect more from leaders in the region. we should expect morsi and the muslim brotherhood and others to stand up to people and say, look, we understand that you're
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upset about this video, but you don't have the right to burn down an employ say. and by the way, in america, the government doesn't control these videos. anyone can make a youtube individual quo. they're a free society. number two, we should expect for them to say the same things in arabic as they're saying in english. don't express condolences and outrage in english on the attack against america but in arabic, completely ignore it and only talk about the youtube video. we should expect more from them. they want a true partnership, they want american and western aid, they want tourists to return, they want economic interchange between our countries? we should expect more h from th. here's the second point. this stuff isn't happening because of a video and because people are upset. you know what? let me explain something to you. for radical islam. islam, our entire culture is offensive. they're not just offended about a youtube video. they're offended that women serve in the u.s. senate. they're offended that women drive. they're offended that little girls get to go to school. and some of these countries, converting to christianity is
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punishable by death. so our whole culture is offensive to them, not just a youtube video. here's the third point we have to accept. we will support those -- look, this is a critical moment not just for america, this is a critical moment for the muslim world. where they have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves. is this the future that they want, a future isolated from the world, a future isolated from the promise of the 21st century? or do they want a different future? i believe -- i don't believe, i know that there are millions of people in the muslim world that don't want this future. but they are afraid to speak up. they are intimidated from speaking up because of these radical forces that need to be defeated, which brings me to my last point. we need to be very clear. we will support those who want a better future, line we should have supported the green revolution in iran when young, brave iranians took to the streets to protest a fraudulent
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election. and instead of taking their side, the president disengaged and said nothing. we will support those who want a new future and a better future for their region. we're not asking them to abandon their religion or their beliefs. but they have to respect ours. we're not asking them to walk away from the koran but they have to respect our beliefs and tolerate our beliefs as well. we'll support those who are willing to do that. we want to work with them. it benefits no one to have violence and disruption in the region. but we also have to accept the hard, cold fact that there are people, there are radical islamists in that part of the world that you can never and will never be able to reason with. they are never going to change their mind. they are never going to come around. they are never going to one day all of a sudden change their behavior because we engage them more, because we give more speeches at their universities. there are radical islammists, violent people. and it's a very c